I liked this Megan McArdle post in the Atlantic. She explictly directs the political discussion away from morality (not that morality isn't important, but we sure as heck haven't had a consensus on it for almost a half-century now) and goes to the facts, emphasis added below by yours truly.Hub Blog also liked the post -- as well as this one (in general). Throw out the deficit numbers for Bush's last year and Obama's first year (the latter, I believe, includes last year's $700 billion bailout package that wasn't put on Bush's books). OK, let's be generous and throw out Obama's second-year projections because of the recession. But look at the estimates well beyond that. Budget deficits re-exploded under Bush. But Obama has to take ownership of future deficits. It's one of the reasons why I think he's pushing to spend the rest of the stimulus money ASAP. He has only about a year or less of recession-excuse spending before realilty smacks him and the nation in the face. The Chinese and Russians are already balking at paying for our deficits. There isn't much time or room to act.
"The problem with the budget deficit is not any particular program, or even any particular tax cuts. It is not that George Bush or Obama is a bad person who does bad things. The problem with the budget deficit is that, unlike the deficits George Bush ran, the deficits projected under Obama (and beyond) are actually large enough to potentially precipitate a fiscal crisis. If our interest rates suddenly spiked up, perhaps because lenders were worried about the size of our budget deficits, we'd find ourselves in the kind of nasty fiscal jam that regularly plagues third-world countries. The difference is, no one has enough money to bail us out.
"Obama is the one who will have to prevent this. Yet instead of plans, we're getting fairy numbers from the OMB. That's worrying, and it's sure not George W. Bush's fault. His OMB liked to inflate the deficit projections, so that they could take credit for a mostly imaginary reduction."
The political dimension of everyday conversation has gone very quiet in my experience. I wonder if many of the intelligent people who voted for our President now find themselves in the position of Jerry Maguire's great manifesto: "The Things We Think and Do Not Say." May they follow this article's lead...